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Polish Ontario newspaper accused of anti-Semitism

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A screenshot of Goniec, a Polish newspaper

Police in Peel Region have confirmed they are investigating a local Polish-language news outlet following a complaint from B’nai Brith Canada about anti-Semitic content.

The force’s Equity and Inclusion Bureau is “also aware” of the complaint, said spokesperson Const. Heather Cannon.

B’nai Brith laid the complaint after discovering “frequent anti-Semitic and hateful material” in Goniec, a news outlet based in Mississauga, Ont., that publishes a weekly newspaper with a circulation of about 1,000, and maintains a website and YouTube channel.

According to B’nai Brith, the paper has accused “Jews and Zionists” of having “terrorism in their blood,” and has urged readers to “stand up to the Jews,” in response to their attempts to “destroy” Poland.

In a series of “incendiary” articles, the outlet “warns repeatedly of Jewish control over the Polish government through ‘puppet politicians’ in the United States who favour ‘rewriting history’ in the interest of the Israeli government,” B’nai Brith said in an Aug. 15 statement.

Authors on the website have also stated that Jews are “playing their old game” of trying to interfere in various governments, while calling the actions of Jewish organizations “racist” and “satanic,” the Jewish advocacy group alleged.

“We are appalled by the blatant Jew-hatred peddled by this publication,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith’s CEO. “While there is room for disagreement over policies in modern Polish-Jewish relations, the anti-Semitic content that we are seeing is truly beyond the pale.”

Among other examples B’nai Brith cited was a photograph of Hasidic Jews juxtaposed with the U.S. Capitol building, followed by allegations that Congress is controlled by Jewish forces, as well as a headline saying, You Use WhatsApp – Jews Are Spying on You.

Goniec has also described a film documenting the 1941 anti-Jewish massacre in the Polish town of Jedwabne as “false propaganda of the ‘Holocaust enterprise’ in a plot to initiate reparations for Jewish property that was lost or stolen during the Second World War,” B’nai Brith charged.

Andrzej Kumor, the paper’s editor-in-chief and sole employee, called B’nai Brith’s accusations “unfounded” and said he will co-operate with police.

“I have nothing to hide,” Kumor told The CJN via email. “I was never hateful towards Jews or any other community. I see politics as a power play of different interests. I love the debate and I think that the debate is a cornerstone of (a) free, democratic society.”

He defended the material cited by B’nai Brith.

The headline about Jews spying, for example, “is about the security hole found in WhatsApp, which was exploited by (an) Israeli group with connections to … state security services,” Kumor explained, asking, “Is the headline, ‘The Russians are spying on us’ anti-Russian?”

He said the commentary titled Zionists Have Terrorism in Their Blood (not “Jews,” he noted) is about paramilitary groups in pre-state Israel – the Irgun, Haganah and the so-called Stern Gang – and “the smart political use of terrorism by Jews fighting for their country after the Second World War.”

As for the July 1941 pogrom in Jedwabne, “this crime should be investigated to the very end … to find out how many people died, and other circumstances,” Kumor said.

Several sources agree that at least 340 Jews were murdered in the pogrom, 300 of whom were locked in a barn that was set on fire.

Peter Jassem, past chair of the Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation of Canada’s Toronto chapter, said it was brought to his attention “on numerous occasions” that Kumor was publishing “anti-Semitic content for years, sometimes explicitly, sometimes as innuendo regularly present in numerous articles written by him and his contributors.”

As for B’nai Brith’s translations, “everything seems to be accurate,” said Jassem. However, the title of one video cited by B’nai Brith “does not mean that Zionists have terrorism in their blood, but rather that they are guilty of terrorism,” Jassem explained. “But when you listen to the video, (Kumor) does say this: ‘Jews or Zionists have terrorism in their blood.’ ” Later in the same video, Kumor says, “It is said that Jews simply invented modern terrorism,” according to Jassem.

He added that both in this article and in an interview Kumor gave to an online Polish television station that Jassem views as anti-Semitic,” Kumor “seems to show  himself as a martyr and a freedom fighter whose mission is to uncover the truth and to defend freedom of speech. He blames Jewish conspiracy for this action against him.” 

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